Ahmed Shafiq says convinced of Saudi rights over Red Sea islands

Ahram Online , Wednesday 13 Apr 2016

Ahmed Shafiq (Photo: AP)

Former Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq says he is convinced that Saudi Arabia holds sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir, according to statement issued Wednesday on his official twitter account.  

Shafiq had called in an earlier statement on Tuesday for evidence supporting the claim of Saudi sovereignty over the islands.

Egypt's announcement on Friday that the islands in the Gulf of Aqaba – long-believed to be under Egyptian sovereignty – fall within Saudi waters has triggered a wave of controversy and confusion.

"After revising all the historical and more recent records regarding these matters, which are numerous… it is proven that the Tiran and Sanafir islands are located within the boundaries of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the statement read.

Shafiq cited in his statement three reasons given by Egyptian authorities for why Saudi Arabia deserves sovereignty over the islands.

The first was a letter sent in 1950 from the king of Saudi Arabia to the Egyptian King Farouk asking for the Egyptian Armed Forces to protect the two islands in the aftermath of the war in Palestine in 1948.

The second was a letter by Saudi FM Saud Al-Faisal to his Egyptian counterpart Esmat Abdel-Megid in 1988 demanding the return of control of the islands to the kingdom.

Shafiq also cited a study conducted by professor of international law Mofeed Shehab, which concluded that the two islands fall under the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia.

However, Shafiq stressed that "authorities should have clearly shown all the documents to the Egyptian people so they may understand the situation in the bigger picture." 

Shafiq, who was Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister before the ouster of the former president in February 2011, lost the final round of the presidential elections to Islamist Mohamed Morsi in 2012.

He has resided in the UAE since, citing "safety concerns."

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